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Wine Rack bought by Venus Wine and Spirit

UK off licence Wine Rack has been rescued from the collapsed First Quench retail empire.

Drinks wholesaler Venus Wine & Spirit Merchants bought the Wine Rack trading name and the stores from the administrators, and will run them under a new company headed by Venus chairman Laki Christoforou and James Rackham, chairman of Emporia Brands.

Fourteen of the stores are set to continue trading in London and the south-east of England.

The stores include six in London, plus others in Berkshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey, but represent only a small proportion of the entire Wine Rack portfolio.

Christoforou, whose company also owns well-known wine and spirits shop Gerry’s in Soho, said the stores were all profitable.

He added, ‘We are confident that Wine Rack can soon become a growing and thriving business again, which is why we were interested to purchase the trading name “Wine Rack”, along with these 14 stores.’

First Quench entered administration at the end of October.

Since then, administrators KPMG have announced the closure of 754 shops, including well over 100 Wine Rack stores, with the total loss of 3,680 jobs.

Talks are continuing on the sale of the remaining stores, with companies including Oddbins, Rhythm & Booze, Bargain Booze, EFB Retail and Greggs all reported to be interested.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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